DES MOINES, Iowa – Andrew Hammond has been in a bit of a slump but put together his best performance since the season’s first game, stopping all 26 shots in a 5-0 blanking of the Milwaukee Admirals. The shutout was the second of the season for Hammond and his first since shutting out the Texas Stars on opening night. Adam Beckman, Mitchell Chaffee, and Joe Hicketts each had a goal and an assist for the Wild.
Iowa jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 16:43 mark thanks to an absolute blast by Hicketts. Mason Shaw won the draw back to Beckman, who moved into an open space near the left face-off circle. That is where Hicketts moved in, firing a blast that beat Connor Ingram to the blocker side for his fourth goal of the year.
With 71 seconds left in the period, the lead became two. Nick Swaney intercepted an errant pass inside the Milwaukee zone, then moved in on net, firing a shot that Ingram saved. However, the rebound came right back to Swaney, who swept behind the net, tucking the backhander between the legs of the Admirals goaltender on a wraparound for his seventh goal. The unassisted goal gave Iowa a 2-0 lead heading into the first break.
The Wild had dominated the first period, outshooting Milwaukee 14-4. Both teams had their opportunities in the second, but this was an outstanding goaltending battle through much of the frame. The Wild clung to their two-goal lead through the first 18 minutes of the period; Iowa took advantage of a power-play opportunity to extend their lead to three with just under two minutes left in the frame.
Iowa was doing a great job of maintaining puck possession inside the Admirals zone. Calen Addison passed the puck down near the goal line to Connor Dewar, who fed the puck across the slot to Beckman. The defenseman fired a shot that caught the inside of the far post for his second goal of the season.
With 42 seconds left in the period, Iowa extended their lead to four. Kyle Rau dumped the puck into the Milwaukee end, where Chaffee outraced the defenseman for the puck. He quickly passed it out in front to Marco Rossi, who buried a one-timer for his third goal of the season.
The Wild added one more goal in the third to extend the lead. Rau had the puck looking like he would move behind the net but found a seam, making a great pass across the slot to Chaffee at the back door, who buried the one-timer for his third goal of the year. That made it 5-0, which would be the final.
While the offense is doing their part, Hammonds was taking care of business at the other end. After stopping 12 shots through the first two periods, Milwaukee put the pressure on in the third, outshooting Iowa, 14-8. However, Hammonds stood strong, stopping all 26 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. The goaltender had allowed 14 total goals in his previous three outings, including six against Grand Rapids on November 5.
It is a short turnaround for these teams as they head to the ice once again on Sunday afternoon. The puck drops at 3:00.
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